Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing. — Edmund Burke
With people of limited ability modesty is merely honesty. But with those who possess great talent, it is hypocrisy. — Arthur Schopenhauer
If one were to ask a neophyte politician why he/she entered politics, we would likely hear something similar to the following: “I want to give something back”; “I believe I can make a difference”; “It’s time for a change”. From this we are to glean that he or she is just the one who can deliver.
These folk may even believe it and hope their supporters will as well. And if, years later, we were to revisit them, now seasoned politicos, no longer dewy-eyed, perhaps even a bit jaded after years on the hustings, we were to ask the same question, they would likely respond in a similar vein, no longer believing any of it this time but still hoping their supporters will — again and again. The voter seldom disappoints and, federally, never. He hears variations of the same promises from all sides looking remarkably alike, casts his vote which delivers the same outcome from whichever side wins and always, always, from the same two parties that have ever governed the Nation. The voter seems incapable of noting let alone giving credence to the third or fourth parties in the room. They will listen politely but will always be lured to those offering the shinier trinkets of vague promises promoted with unctuous bombast. That is how they have always voted and will likely always vote. Change? Come every election, voters are told they want change, will say they want change but, in the end, will do what they have always done, opt for one of the two heads on the same coin. All that changes is the name of party: Liberal or Conservative. The sad reality is the voter is too timid, too easily threatened or just too stupid to do any other than what he has always done: better the devil one knows.
It’s a filthy business. Everyone, with few exceptions, touched by politics, and that means everyone, are always on the look out for the main chance: what’s in it for me? One may enter the field as innocently as any lamb with intentions pure and noble but it doesn’t take much to turn him into another slavering wolf. There is no benefit to being innocent and even less a lamb. Besides, let’s face it, going into politics for any other reason than to grab power, to hold on to it and coming out ahead is a mugs game best left for idealists who, inexplicably, believe people are basically good and deserve good in turn. What a crock! Integrity, honesty, the ability to experience shame is for suckers. But don’t ask any successful politician, he’ll smile, pat you on the back oozing, simply oozing sincerity denying that that is so and may even point to himself as refutation of that canard, smiling, brazenly daring you to deny that he is an honest man. Of course he is, you’ll agree, you know the game, you’re a player as well. When he leaves, look to see if he’s rubbing his hands smiling, smiling, smiling. It might be wise to check for your wallet.
It is unlikely that no one believed this more than Stephen Harper and his gang, many of whom now sit in opposition denouncing what they once proselytized while the Liberals, sitting where the Conservatives once sat seek to do exactly what they previously denounced.
SURE, HE’S A HYPOCRITE BUT DOES ANYONE CARE?
In politics, hypocrisy is nothing from which to shy away and is, in fact, almost de rigueur. Decency and integrity, while noble sentiments are just sentiments and tend only to be hindrances to the main goal and chance. The reality is never as inviting as the promise. The promise need not be substantial, better it is not for, if broken, abandoned, or found impractical, it may come back to haunt one if too heavily invested in by the voting public; better the promise be flimsy, unimportant but shiny, glittery and easy to fulfill; if not, the one making the promises must be mostly handsome packaging and full of fervent offerings that need only be symbolic: declare oneself a feminist; call oneself a friend of the First Nations peoples; scream that Human Rights is a priority. The symbolic requires no real commitment, just a lot of hot button words, grand empty gestures, and more promises, perhaps a concrete move of little consequence, the removal of a name from a public building, say, but nothing big or costly yet reaping huge rewards while appeasing those whose votes you seek. Just keep to the grand and empty, to the loud and flowery; they’ll sound great to the dumb and dumber more easily moved to tears by the gorgeous, sweet-talking eye-candy politicos before them than by images of homeless, starving, brutalized, dying, or dead strangers half a world away.
If anyone in politics today knows that, it is Justin Trudeau and his gang. He is a winner in the world of phonies, but sadly, he is not alone.
I will not say “all” politicians are liars and hypocrites for that is too sweeping an indictment, but I daresay “most” would be accurate. Trudeau is more adept than most in both areas prone to loud pronouncements promising the moon which seldom seem to stand up, as with electoral reform which Trudeau, full of rodomontade, proclaimed would be the end of first-past-the-post elections while keeping to himself his preferred choice of reform and what steps he would take if the end result did not meet his wants and expectations. He is, in fact, a master of the dubious and empty follow through, committed to nothing but his own desires, wants and expectations. He did not fret the consequences of his betrayal nor was there need; he knew his fans, for that’s all they are and that was all he needed. Charm and smarm, of which he possesses in plentitude, will suffice he believed. He was right. He is the golden boy and, for now, untouchable. If his supporters see the cracks and smell the hint of rot, they ignore them or do not care. None of it matters. He breaks a key election promise; he accepts gifts in the way of a free helicopter ride from a wealthy family friend whose foundation receives millions from Canadians with promises of more; he and his ministers attend fundraisers put on by the very people who stand to benefit from their decisions. That’s real conflict of interest but, what the hell, who cares? Trudeau himself met secretly with wealthy businessmen from China at a private fundraiser and lied about it when he said there was no discussion of business interests before the government (only later did he admit there had been); he turns his back on Human Rights as a priority and, while declaring himself a feminist, fails to condemn another leader for misogynistic utterances and is disturbingly silent on what his own minister of international trade, Chrystia Freeland, has condemned as “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya people in Myanmar. None of this touches him or his legions of fans. They simply do not care.
Make no mistake: Trudeau is as closed, secretive, and hypocritical as the worst of politicians. The preceding paragraph clearly demonstrates how he even betrayed himself when he turned his back on his own mandate in the form of letters to his ministers when he declared:
I expect Canadians to hold us accountable for delivering these commitments, and I expect all ministers to do their part – individually and collectively – to improve economic opportunity and security for Canadians.
We have committed to an open, honest government that is accountable to Canadians, lives up to the highest ethical standards, and applies the utmost care and prudence in the handling of public funds. I expect you to embody these values in your work and observe the highest ethical standards in everything you do. When dealing with our Cabinet colleagues, Parliament, stakeholders, or the public, it is important that your behaviour and decisions meet Canadians’ well-founded expectations of our government. I want Canadians to look on their own government with pride and trust.
As Minister, you must ensure that you are aware of and fully compliant with the Conflict of Interest Act and Treasury Board policies and guidelines. You will be provided with a copy of Open and Accountable Government to assist you as you undertake your responsibilities. I ask that you carefully read it and ensure that your staff does so as well. I draw your attention in particular to the Ethical Guidelines set out in Annex A of that document, which apply to you and your staff. As noted in the Guidelines, you must uphold the highest standards of honesty and impartiality, and both the performance of your official duties and the arrangement of your private affairs should bear the closest public scrutiny. This is an obligation that is not fully discharged by simply acting within the law. Please also review the areas of Open and Accountable Government that we have expanded or strengthened, including the guidance on non-partisan use of departmental communications resources and the new code of conduct for exempt staff. – Excerpt from Trudeau Government Mandate
• Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries must ensure that political fundraising activities or considerations do not affect, or appear to affect, the exercise of their official duties or the access of individuals or organizations to government.
• There should be no preferential access to government, or appearance of preferential access, accorded to individuals or organizations because they have made financial contributions to politicians and political parties.
• There should be no singling out, or appearance of singling out, of individuals or organizations as targets of political fundraising because they have official dealings with Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, or their staff or departments. – Excerpt from Trudeau Open and Accountable Government GuidelinesHigh-minded words rendered meaningless in light of the behaviour of Trudeau and a few of his ministers.
HE DID SO PROMISE A ROSE GARDEN
So why was Justin Trudeau, who has and continues to fail and disappoint at almost every level, elected in the first place? Surely it had to be for reasons more substantial than his good looks, his charm, his beautiful wife and children and the legacy of his father as an intellectual progressive that gave us our first taste of Trudeaumania that quickly waned with marriage and the stark reality of the October Crisis and imposition of the War Measures Act. It was not just the young who voted for the son enraptured by his youth and oozing, simply oozing sincerity, but also those old timers who where there when Trudeau père shone as his son now does, their memories, perhaps aided by the passage of time, offering a picture slightly burnished where Pierre’s popularity slipped from soaring adulation to bitter denunciation only to return a few years later to one of resigned acceptance: he was a familiar face that wasn’t the worst that was on offer at the time. Hardly a sufficient enough reason to pick one for the role of Prime Minister yet a far better justification than on display years later by the artful performance of the son when apparently good looks, lots of hair and too many feel-good grand promises, too grand to be convincing let alone believed, were, it seems, more than sufficient to elect a man who has proven himself a crafty phony time-and-again.
It is not only that he has turned, happily turned, his back on electoral reform and Human rights, though they play huge roles in my feelings towards him, it is that he won his victory through guile which, of course, one expects of politicians, passing himself not just as an anti-Harper personae but also as a progressive and someone who was truly different and for the better. He is none of these. Rather, Trudeau is a shell of light pleasantries and soothing blandishments, a husk of cloying sincerity that appears overdone, false, and, at times, of extreme bad taste. Symbolic gestures and hollow, high-minded words are emblematic of his character and his governance. That is the Trudeau the world sees. But under that benign smile and sickening sincerity is a cold, calculating, pragmatic, dishonest, manipulative, scheming, ruthless and opportunistic being who rivals anyone in the world of politics at its worst. The surface may be appealing, but it’s the content of the package that should really concern us. This is a man who finds little difficulty in shaking hands and doing trade deals with thugs and murderers; like Harper and the Harper gang, it is all about the wealth and health of Business and a few tokens to appease those to whom he devotes so, so many words: the First Nations peoples and the “middle class”.
AND DELIVERED A PILE OF…
In 2014, Trudeau suspended two Liberal MPs after allegations of sexual harassment in separate incidences were levelled against them. No charges were brought against the two who denied the allegations. Their careers in ruins, the two left the party in the expectation they would be permanently expelled. Compare that to Trudeau’s treatment of Calgary Liberal MP Darshan Kang recently faced with allegations of sexual misconduct which he has denied. Opposition members called on Trudeau to demand Kang’s resignation or to expel him from caucus until there was a complete investigation. Trudeau did neither and, when Kang finally did resign from caucus, Trudeau refused to say if he had pushed the MP to do so. Why was Trudeau’s behaviour so decisive in the first instance and less apparent in this? Alberta has elected only four Liberal MPs. Could the loss of one member explain Trudeau’s peculiar foot dragging?
Trudeau has made much of his “feminism” pointing to his cabinet. I question it. When given an opportunity (at least twice) to condemn the recorded misogynistic mouthings of Trump that came to light during the American campaign, Trudeau refused to do so.
Trudeau’s failure in Human Rights, which he claimed a priority during his campaign, is even more egregious, not only because of his signing off on the Light-Armoured trade deal with Human Rights abuser Saudi Arabia but also because of his eager, whole-hearted commitment to expand trade with China. No doubt the friendships he developed with many Chinese millionaire/billionaires during his many secret fundraising endeavours has gone a long way to smoothing the path of his courtship of China. As with Stephen Harper, all other considerations take a back seat when trade and Big Business are involved.
Human Rights? Why is Trudeau’s response close to mute on the crisis taking place in Myanmar? Why is he refusing to call out Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor (similar to role of Prime Minister), Nobel Peace Prize winner and honorary Canadian citizen for her silence on what Chrystia Freeland, international trade minister, echoing the UN, has called “ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya Muslims in Burma? In September 21, while addressing the UN, he spoke only of domestic matters, condemning Canada’s role in the treatment of First Nations peoples and even, ridiculously, referring to his plans at tax reform. Again, offered the opportunity to condemn what was happening outside of Canada, the matter of the persecuted Rohingya, the war of words between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jung-un, he kept mum. It was a peculiar performance unbefitting a world leader. While his comments on indigenous matters was accurate and blunt, that was solely for public consumption at home; why use that opportunity to speak on domestic affairs to which the UN plays no role? Besides, while big on talk, what has Trudeau’s Liberals accomplished these past two years regarding the indigenous community regarding housing, teen suicide, jobs, and infrastructure? Why are close to 200 First Nations communities without clean, let alone safe, drinking water? His appearance at the UN was about self-aggrandizement and symbolic platitudes and sound bites. Human Rights? While he offers a shameless display of babbittry for the folks at home, he reveals his concerns have everything to do with promoting and protecting trade, business interests and the Liberal brand. Immediately following his UN speech, he took time to respond to questions from the media. He was asked to comment on Trump’s threat in response to North Korea’s militaristic actions. “It is not my job to opine on the policies of the United States”! That was essentially the same answer he gave regarding the release of Trump’s vile utterances regarding the groping of women. This is not a leader speaking. That is man concerned with the preservation of his image and not making waves lest he disturbs and raises the ire of the red-haired loony south of us who might, just might, retaliate economically.
Feminism? Human Rights? Recently, Ralph Goodale, public safety minister, speaking for the government has outlined revamped rules regarding information obtained through torture. Canada will now embrace information gathered through torture while disavowing complicity to the torture by foreign, presumably allied, states if there is reason to believe Canada is a risk. Pretty broad guidelines with no clear terms of reference. “We were guided by the government’s commitment to keep Canadians safe and uphold Canada’s commitments to human rights and the rule of law,” he said (Kathleen Harris, CBC News, September 25, 2017). Typically, the Trudeau mob wants it both ways, keeping their hands clean while others do the dirty work. Not complicit? I don’t know. Seems to me a pretty clear sign of commitment if one remains silent regarding a criminal act and knowingly takes advantage to gain by it.
Different? Better? Open? Transparent? Well, that was the promise.
It is unfortunate that style over substance is the name of today’s game. During the last election, the NDP was clearly seen as a real contender. They could have, they should have, they didn’t. The Liberals and NDP pulled a switcheroo, the Liberals stealing from the left and the left surrendering as it raced to the centre. That worked well, didn’t it. Today, as the NDP is about to pick its new leader, it seems prepared to take a page from Trudeau, opting for charisma and vague utterances over substance. Jagmeet Singh looks good, speaks well and certainly presents himself as a contender as during his last appearance with his rivals before the leadership vote. He made his appearance running out from the wings and bouncing on stage waving his hands in the air as he jogged in place, a huge contingent of supporters behind him. My God, this was the great NDP hope. But what is his platform? For what does he stand? It is all vague,Trudeau light and I have had enough of Trudeau.
Politics has been reduced to a garish show of eye-candy and little more. Where are the big ideas and the big, fulfilled, promises? If the NDP picks Singh, the message is clear: the old guard, the stalwarts of the party are no longer needed or wanted. It is all about winning and if betrayal is part of the package, so be it. All those youthful and hopeful folks who voted for Trudeau were betrayed by an image and a promise never meant to be true or honoured. Will the NDP take that route? Looks like it.
There is no honour. There is no belief. There is no hope. There are only winners and losers and we, who put them in office, are just ancillary adjuncts wooed and stroked only to be ignored when the race is over until needed next election.
Trudeau and all the gang on all sides may be hypocrites but what does that say about the rest of us?
NOTE: I wish to thank all my readers and those who wrote me, in particular Pamela MacNeil, whose words, wisdom and support encouraged me to continue writing probably for much longer than I should have. I would have liked to have heard from more of you. I may return, likely will, but, for now, for a few months at least, I will take my leave. I have nothing new to say or to add and I haven’t, I believe, for some time. Thank you.
But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.
They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. — Benjamin Franklin